Fire devastates Tawerghan refugee camp outside Tripoli

By Libya Herald reporters.

A pall of smoke over the Sidi Saih refugee camp today (Photo: Tawerghan Foundation)

A pall of smoke over the Sidi Saih refugee camp today (Photo: Tawerghan Foundation)

Tripoli, 12 March 2017:

Part of a Tawerghan refugee camp near Tripoli has been destroyed in a fire that broke out this morning and left at least fourteen families homeless.

It is not clear how the blaze began at the Sidi Saih camp some 40 kilometres south east of the city centre. However, it appears to have taken hold quickly and burnt out a large section of mainly prefabricated or wooden shacks.  There are no details of any casualties.

The Tawerghan council said that the fourteen families whose homes were burnt out had lost everything.

The blaze has renewed focus on the lack of progress with the UNSMIL-brokered agreement between Misrata and the Tawerghan, finally signed last September.  The deal is supposed to allow Tawerghans to return to their damaged and looted town from the largely squalid camps around the country in which they have lived since 2011.

They had been driven from the town by Misratan forces at the end of the Revolution because Tawergha had been used by Qaddafi’s army as the base for its attempt to recapture Misrata. The Misratans considered the Tawerghans to have supported the regime and taken part in the assault on the port city.

As part of the agreement, victims from both sides would receive compensation from a fund to be set up by Faiez Serraj’s Presidency Council. It seems clear that as the PC has wrestled with its far more pressing financial problems, little progress, if any, has been made on allocating money for this compensation.

UNSMIL began trying to bring about a settlement as long ago as May 2015. However even as the agreement was signed in Tunis last autumn, critics in Misrata were warning that the resolution of differences with the Tawerghans was not going to be that simple.

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